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Early learning conversations

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At Stonefields School teachers use a common language of learning with students from the day they arrive at school. In this video Chris Bradbeer shows us how Rocky, one of the school mascots, introduces this language to new learners.

There are three stories in this series:

  1. Thinking big: Principles to guide vision and curriculum
  2. Learning and teaching in learning hubs
  3. Early learning conversations

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

A coherent curriculum

In primary schools where coherence was strongly evident, students were provided with clear learning pathways and progressions that allowed for a smooth transition into and through the school, and on to intermediate or secondary school. It was reinforced by a consistency of practice across the school, including moderation of assessment practices, a common language of learning, and shared planning. In classrooms, teachers ascertained students’ prior learning and experience and established links to this.

The New Zealand Curriculum Principles: Foundations for Curriculum Decision-Making (July 2012)

  • In what ways are you developing a common language of learning that is shared by teachers, students, parents, families, whānau, and communities?
  • What kind of strategies could you develop to help students to make connections across learning areas and between year levels?

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This section of NZC Online draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support schools as they consider the coherence principle.


The thing we’re most proud about, is how far the children have come in such a short time. It’s just amazing to see the progress.

This is my first piece of writing. This is when I only started on the first day and I wrote one whole line. Just one. And now, it’s all they way, down to, two pages. This one and this one.

Okay, well I hope you’ve done some amazing learning, and I thought oh, I’ve got to come over and check it out. So what have you been doing?

I’ve been writing about my writing.

And is this some writing you did this morning?


Can we read it?


Go on then.

I like the hip-hoppers because they so were cute and they danced well.
They danced well.

That’s a great word to use, cute, isn’t it? You thought the hip-hoppers were cute. I thought they were cute. I loved their T shirts. Woah, you’ve had to do a lot of learning now to do this writing, haven’t you?


I reckon you’ve done some good stretch for yourself, and your teacher’s written you’ve been stretching. And let’s have a look and see what your writing used to be like. Where’s the beginning?

There’s the beginning.

And you did that?


Oh! Look at the difference. Look at the difference between this one and oh! Wow! You must be so proud of yourself. So what have you had to do in your learning to get that good at your writing?


What have you had to do?

I have to learn.

Did you have to be determined?


Did you? What else did you have to do?

I had to do other stuff.

Did you have to try some words you’d never used before?


That’s really good, isn’t it - you had to take a few risks in your writing. Oh, that’s fantastic.

So now, how do you feel now you’ve done this writing?


You feel good? I feel good, just looking at it. That’s fantastic, Ashan. Are you pleased with yourself?


Give us a high five. Fantastic.

I think the thing that I’m the most proud about is the engagement of the children in their learning. And just the self-motivation and the lovely communication at the end of the day when they go out and they talk to their Mummies and Daddies and Nannies and Grandads and they share their learning and it’s just awesome.

Published on: 31 May 2011